What happened 25 years ago that influenced world developments for the next quarter of a century?

2024-01-02 19:11:06Histori SHKRUAR NGA REDAKSIA VOX

What happened 25 years ago that influenced world developments for the next quarter of a century? From the creation of the Euro, to the war in Kosovo and to the change of power in Russia, let's follow a summary of the most important events that left their mark.

The launch of the new Euro currency on January 1, 1999 was celebrated with champagne and balloons being released into the air.

The European Union had designated a year ago the eleven countries that would merge their currencies into a single one. It had to wait until 2002 for those countries to put the Euro into circulation in physical form. With the accession of other countries, 20 countries now participate in the Eurozone.

In the United States, the Republican-majority House of Representatives voted in October 1998 to begin impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton, after months of debate over his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

The vote was prompted after two rounds of testimony by Mr. Clinton. In January 1998, he denied having sex with Ms Lewinsky.

In August, while being questioned by special prosecutor Kenneth Starr before a grand jury, he testified that he had engaged in inappropriate relations with Ms. Lewinsky.

President Clinton was impeached on December 19, 1998 for jury fraud and obstruction of justice. The Senate trial of President Clinton began on January 7, 1999 and lasted four weeks.

On February 12, 1999, the Senate acquitted Mr. Clinton of both charges. During the voting, the required 67 votes were not reached to declare him guilty. Only 45 senators voted guilty on the charge of fraud and 50 senators on the charge of obstruction of justice.

The arrest of Abdullah Ocalan in Kenya in February 1999 sparked a wave of violence by Kurdish militants in major European cities. Mr. Ocalan, who founded the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in 1978, was convicted of treason in Turkey and has been in prison since 1999.

The issue of Kosovo's independence caused the war in 1998-99. Serbia began a brutal campaign to suppress the rebellion of Albanian separatists.

"The risk of acting now is clearly less than the risks of inaction. The risk that many more innocent people will die, or that tens of thousands will be driven from their homes. The risk that the conflict will involve and destabilize neighboring countries", President Bill Clinton declared at the time.

The war between Serbia and Kosovo killed over 10,000 people, mostly Kosovo Albanians. It ended in June 1999 after a 78-day campaign of NATO airstrikes forced Serbian forces to withdraw from Kosovo.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. The Serbian government, with the support of China and Russia, has refused to recognize the state of Kosovo.

The United States and most of its European allies recognize Kosovo as an independent country. Serbia and Kosovo must normalize relations in order to join the European Union.

But EU-mediated talks aimed at helping these two countries have stalled. Tensions have increased in recent months and normalization talks between Kosovo and Serbia have not made progress.

In August 1999, the second war in Chechnya began and ended with a siege by Russian forces of Grozny, the Chechen capital, which was destroyed by heavy bombing by Russian forces. After years of fighting, Russian officials declared the conflict in Chechnya over in 2017.

Russia itself experienced a transformation of its political landscape as it approached the end of the millennium. On December 31, 1999, while much of the world was celebrating the millennium, in a surprise speech, President Boris Yeltsin announced his resignation and appointed Vladimir Putin, the prime minister he had appointed four months earlier, as interim president. Mr. Putin would continue to influence world politics for almost a quarter of a century.

On New Year's Eve 1999, many people were worried about the threat, nicknamed Y2K, that was thought to come at the stroke of midnight when computers would change the date to January 1, 2000, creating problems for banks, airlines and a wider global chaos.

Apart from a few minor problems, this chaos never materialized. It is thought, however, that the efforts made to solve potential problems helped to avoid defects and also that the problem was presented as bigger than it was. As the new millennium entered, the festive feeling was felt from London to Kiribati./VOA